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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

Once inside the door, my difficulties were almost
ended. I remember balancing myself in the dark little
shop, which was full of strong-smelling vegetables,
and remarking aloud, "Well, old boy, here you are,
and now you gotter get up the stairs." My room was
an unventilated cupboard which reeked of onions;
the stairs were steep, but my flea-bag was on the floor
and I fell asleep fully dressed. What with the smell of
onions and the bad champagne, I awoke feeling like
nothing on earth, and to say that Leake was grumpy
at breakfast would be to put it mildly. But we were on
the march by nine, in cold bright weather, and by the
first halt I was feeling surprisingly clear-headed and
alert.

We had halted on some high ground above Pont
Noyelles: I can remember the invigorating- freshness
of the air and the delicate outlines of the landscape to-
wards Amiens, and how I gazed at a line of tall trees
by the river beyond which, not two miles away, was
the village of Bussy where I'd been last June before
the Somme battle began. At such a moment as that
the War felt quite a friendly affair and I could assure
myself that being in the Infantry was much better
than loafing about at home. And at the second halt
I was able to observe what a pleasant picture the men
made, for some of them were resting in warm sunlight
under a crucifix and an old apple-tree. But by midday
the march had become tedious; the road was dusty,
the sun glared down on us, and I was occupied in pre-
venting exhausted men from falling out. It was diffi-
cult to keep some of them in the ranks, and by the time
we reached Villers-Bocage (nearly fourteen miles from
Corbie) I was pushing two undersized men along in
front of me, another one staggered behind hanging on
to my belt, and the Company Sergeant-Major was